PHOENIX – Jessica Korda grew up thinking she’d play in the Masters. Like many her age, the now 25-year-old Korda idolized Tiger Woods.
So when she ran into Woods and Rory McIlroy at the halfway house at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., last Thanksgiving she got starry-eyed. Woods asked Korda who won the bet between her and younger sister, Nelly. The pair had a season-long wager over who finished highest on the money list last year.
“I was like, ‘You talking to me?’ ” recalled Korda, laughing.
Woods: “What did you win?”
Korda: “A purse.”
McIlroy: “That’s exactly what we played for right, Tiger?”
A geeked-out Korda immediately called Nelly: “Tiger knows who we are.”
LPGA players are golf nuts too, and Jessica isn’t alone in her fandom.
“We’re Tiger’s kids basically,” Jessica said. “We’ve watched him play. We watched him hit those shots. Like, he is our idol.”
Michelle Wie said she felt like her victory in Singapore opened the floodgates for players who haven’t won in a long time. Could Tiger be next?
“They said that me, Phil and Steve Stricker … it was 4,000-something days since our last win,” said Wie, who tweeted several times last Sunday about Woods while watching the Valspar telecast.
Anna Nordqvist was in Dallas last weekend but found herself watching as much of the PGA Tour coverage as possible. As an Orlando, Fla., resident, she was bummed she couldn’t be out at Bay Hill this week watching Woods live.
“Everyone is watching,” Nordqvist said. “He’s been working hard, and a lot of people have been criticizing him for a long time. I really want to see him prove them wrong.”